When we received an invitation to the red-carpet premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, we were thrilled. Though we live near Hollywood, we don’t get such invitations very often, but CBS saw to it that we got this invitation. John chose to wear his Casablanca dinner jacket with his Gemini and Apollo mission tie, both of which caused comment at the event. That we could also invite two of our daughters was even more special. Jenn lives in Boston, but she flew out for this event. Talk about crazy Trekkies, right?
At the Cinerama Dome theater, we met many costumed fans as we walked toward to front, including John Halvorson, our local Klingon. It was nice seeing someone we knew. There were a whole bunch of fans we didn’t know, which opened new possibilities for more Trek friendships. We were very impressed with the fan-made costumes, including a well-done Andorian who wore blue latex gloves instead of makeup on her hands. That way, she could hug people without decorating them with blue, an innovation that was much appreciated.
The “red” carpet turned out to be blue (go figure), but there was the usual press excitement. We’d always wondered how the press managed to identify everyone who walked down a red carpet. Turns out they are given cheat sheets with colored photos of the celebrities, their names, and what they do. We were on one of those sheets! Cool!
Among the people who posed for pictures with us was Ian Spelling, our patient StarTrek.com editor, and several CBS folk we’d met at Comic-Con or Star Trek Las Vegas during the 50th anniversary. They made sure that we’d gotten an invitation for the after-party, including our daughters.
Once in the theater, we took our free popcorn and beverages, and went to find our seats. We had been placed so close to the screen that neither of us could possibly see more than large blurs. It would have been like watching an animated expressionist painting! So, we asked for seat farther back, and were escorted to a much better location. There we talked to several fans, including one effervescent red shirt who invited Bjo to look into a military female Trek fan club, since Bjo is ex-Navy.
Before the screening began, Sarek appeared on screen to advise all watchers to not share anything they viewed (yeah, right!). It was an amusing beginning, and both of us liked the new Sarek. People settled down to see if Discovery was going to be what everyone hoped it would be: good Trek.
The action immediately slammed into a plot by a rogue Klingon, with a young Starfleet officer being the only one who could sense what was up. From there, it was one breathless scene after another. We had little time to absorb one thing before another two carried our senses beyond that.
Space, as defined by Discovery, is a colorful, action-filled stage on which to play out the story. Colors are used to good effect, often mirroring the enhanced photo results obtained from Hubble and other modern space cameras. We hope to see Discovery space posters being offered as merchandise in the near future.
The characters were as interesting as we hoped they would be -- kudos to the costume designers, mask-makers and makeup artists -- and all played their parts well. We know that the new Klingons have caused a great deal of discussion and questions in Trekdom, but they are much more menacing than ever and we like them. Bjo has a theory that Klingons go into hibernation every so-many years and hatch out of their chrysalis as a more developed entity.
Middle daughter, Lora, happily observed “The new show looks like it’s gonna be really good! Fantastic aliens, costumes, production values and interesting story. The characters are written well and both likable and hateable.” We’re not sure that “hateable” is a word, but it seems very apt for villains like the new Klingons.
The uniforms and other costumes are very well designed and constructed. They are totally unlike earlier Starfleet uniforms. It was not surprising that some enterprising (as it were) fans had already made their own versions. Klingon uniforms are much more complex and interesting than earlier budget-bound Klingon garb. But we’re sure that many fans will be up to the challenge. We look forward to seeing what ingenious costumes show up at upcoming conventions.
Daughter #3 noted, “The premiere was awesome. An experience not to be forgotten. It was fun to dress up, it was fun to watch the 'rents walk the carpet, it was fun that we got to walk down the carpet too. We were assigned seats in the third row, so we asked if Bjo and John could be moved farther back (they wouldn't have been able to see well that close). The harried people trying to seat everyone were able to accommodate them (the folks at CBS were awesome. Great crew). Lora and I stayed down front."
Celebrity sightings: the cast of Discovery, as well as William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Nana Visitor, Glenn Hetrick, Neville Page, Jonathan Frakes, Bill Nye, Michael Trucco, Greg Jein, Rick Sternbach, Mike and Denise Okuda, John Billingsley. Enjoyed it very much!!! As we were leaving the after party I passed Sonequa Martin-Green and told her I really enjoyed her performance.”
Bjo wasn’t quite as composed as our daughter. At the party, Bjo ran into Sonequa Martin-Green and went all fan-girl! She is so very beautiful that Bjo forgot everything she wanted to say when Sonequa smiled at us. This is unusual, since we both are pretty used to meeting actors.
Jenn also sent us another FB exchange between a friend and herself: Kathy: “All those people owe their ongoing jobs to your parents!!!” Jenn: “Dude. Mom and dad are one of the 22 photos from the premiere that cbs.com posted!!
When Star Trek was filmed in Southern California, we could occasionally visit the sets. Discovery is filmed in Toronto, Canada, which means that we won’t be able to do that. We’re sorry for that, because it is fun to see how episodes get made. Then we could share our experiences with our blog readers. When Bjo shared set visits with Starlog readers, most fans enjoyed that.
We now have CBS Access, so we can watch Discovery as it develops. Everyone should remember that fans didn’t immediately accept the original Star Trek, in spite of what revisionist history claims. We all had a cautious “wait and see” attitude, having been promised mature programming by other sci-fi shows, such as Lost in Space and Time Tunnel, only to have them devolve into kiddie TV. With so many who can turn out good entertainment involved with Discovery, we’re willing to wait to find out how it turns out.
A wonderful new adventure is upon us. Let’s boldly go where Discovery takes us!